(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

It is no exaggeration to state that through the efforts of crime writer Pierre Boileau and his collaborator, Thomas Narcejac, a new type of thriller was created. Together, under the pseudonym Boileau-Narcejac, they wrote studies in abnormal psychology rooted in the philosophical outlook of existentialism current in the Paris of the immediate pre-and post-World War II period. Film directors such as Alfred Hitchcock brought Boileau’s and Narcejac’s treatments of human duplicity and gullibility to a wider audience than that previously enjoyed by most thrillers.

Their tales are puzzles of intricate design that require the reader’s close attention. Each novel contains at least one startling development; some contain several. Many of the stories deal with people worn out by their mundane existence and who grasp at perceived opportunities to find some meaning in their lives. Their gullibility is matched by the amorality and artfulness of more vital characters, who trick them into doing things they had never considered doing.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Indick, William. Psycho Thrillers: Cinematic Explorations of the Mysteries of the Mind. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2006. Detailed analysis of the psychological thriller in film, which was directly influenced by Boileau and Narcejac’s literary inventions. Bibliography, filmography, and index.

Sayers, Dorothy L. Les Origines du Roman Policier: A Wartime Wireless Talk to the French. Translated by Suzanne Bray. Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex, England: Dorothy L. Sayers Society, 2003. Address to the French by the famous English mystery author, discussing the history of French detective fiction and its relation to the English version of the genre. Sheds light on Boileau and Narcejac’s work.

Schwartz, Ronald. Noir, Now and Then: Film Noir Originals and Remakes, 1944-1999. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001. This study of film noir and later remakes includes analysis of two adaptations of The Living and the Dead and four adaptation of The Woman Who Was No More.

Wakeman, John, ed. “Pierre Boileau” and “Thomas Narcejac.” In World Authors, 1950-1970. New York: Wilson, 1975. Each author receives an entry in this massive list of the writers of the world and their accomplishments.